I’ve visited a lot of cities across the United States of America (though not nearly as many as I’d still like to visit one day). One place that remains dear to me, and I’d seriously love to go back to one day, is the city of Monterey in California.
I was only there for a couple of days back in 2013, but I fell in love with its rugged coastline, its laid-back vibe, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, just to name a few of its many highlights. But rather than wax lyrical about the city’s numerous charms (you’ve probably heard it all before), here are 5 facts about Monterey, California:
1. People have been living in Monterey since about 500BC
Although it obviously wasn’t called Monterey way back then, the area was home to Native Americans. They were likely drawn to the area by its abundance of fish and game, not to mention the mild weather that makes it popular with tourists today.
2. Monterey was the capital of Spanish & Mexican California
Fast forward to 1776, when Spain made Monterey the capital of Baja (lower) and Alta (upper) California. Long story short, Mexico later gained independence from Spain in 1821, and then the Mexican-American War happened and in 1846 the area was claimed by the US.
3. Monterey was the “Sardine Capital of the World”
Fast forward another 150 years or so to the 1920s, when the front waterfront street in Monterey, Cannery Row (you’ve probably heard of it), earnt the name. Back then it was home to numerous sardine canning factories, which processed an estimated 250,000 tons of sardines every year.
The fishing industry collapsed in the mid-1950s and the last cannery of Cannery Row closed in 1973; now it’s a tourist attraction.
4. John Steinbeck set three of his books in Monterey
The legendary Nobel-prize winning author set Tortilla Flat, Cannery Row and its sequel Sweet Thursday in Monterey. They’re delightful, amazing, hilarious books, and I highly recommend you read them all before you visit Monterey.
5. Many authors have called Monterey home
Steinbeck isn’t the only famous novelist who spent time in Monterey; Robert Louis Stevenson, Ed Ricketts, Robinson Jeffers, Robert A. Heinlein, and Henry Miller all lived in and around Monterey at some stage during their lives.
I’ve been to Monterey and I’ve written an amazing blackly comedic horror novel called Slasher Sam. Coincidence? Probably 😉